ABC congressional correspondent Rachel Scott filled in as the anchor for the morning show on Sunday when she spoke with deputy political director Averi Harper on the emergence of this new variant. Namely, Scott asked what kind of challenge the omicron variant posed to Biden.
“Nearly 150 days ago the president said we were closer to declaring independence from the virus. Now we see this new Covid variant. How much of a challenge does this pose for the President,” Scott asked.
Harper remarked that the latest variant could pose “a significant challenge” on the “economic front” after the largest single-day drop of the year in U.S. stocks on Friday.
“We know that New York’s governor has declared a state of emergency and we saw the markets took a nosedive on Friday all because of the omicron variant. So, I would say this poses a significant challenge to the Biden administration, particularly on the economic front,” Harper said.
Harper also showed some concern that the omicron variant could be a threat to the “progress of the economy” that she claimed Biden has made in the past year as well as the upcoming 2022 elections.
“Last week, we heard the president urge Americans to have confidence in the progress of the economy has made. Well, the omicron variant could pose a significant threat to that progress. And heading into an election year for the Biden administration, which is critical, it could spell trouble,” Harper said.
Other media pundits, like “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, hit Biden for “prematurely” declaring the U.S. had the “upper hand” against the virus back in July, and argued he had to “get out in front” of the ongoing fight against the disease. He added the president should use his “bully pulpit” to push back against Republicans who have shunned vaccine mandates or his political agenda would get nowhere.
Markets currently worry that the variant could lead to new restrictions and bans that will greatly impact businesses. However, their biggest concern remains rising inflation rates which could be exacerbated by a new coronavirus strain.
Various economic advisors, including ones from the Obama administration, have denounced Biden’s policies as contributing to the rapidly increasing inflation rates. The Biden administration has since denied inflation as a growing concern, with many members of the media also downplaying concerns over economic consequences.